The Taglit-Birthright Israel program has expanded eligibility for its free 10-day trips to Israel for Jewish young adults ages 18-26, JNS.org has learned. Teenagers who went on an educational trip to Israel during high school were previously not eligible but can now participate if they were under 18 when they traveled, confirmed Noa Bauer, Birthright’s vice president of international marketing.
In the 13-plus years since philanthropists Charles Bronfman and Michael Steinhardt joined forces with the Israeli government and other philanthropists to fund Birthright, the program has taken about 350,000 young Jews to Israel.
Brandeis University studies report that former Birthright participants are 42 percent more likely to feel “very much” connected to Israel compared to people who didn’t go. Participants are also more likely to belong to a religious congregation than those who did not attend Birthright, and are also more likely than non-participants to make charitable contributions to Jewish or Israeli causes.